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Old 12-26-2012, 11:00 AM   #1 
Harleys Mom
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Betta with swelling

I have a female Betta, Xia, who has a swollen abdomen. It started apx 22 days ago.

The first thing I did was decrease the aqua. salt at water change then didnt add it at the next water change. (So from 1/4+ Tea to 1/4 Tea. then none)

On day 5 I started a round of Kanaplex. I did two rounds of it with no visible results.

On day 15 I did another complete water change and started Maracyn 1 & 2. (Its left the water cloudy.) I am currently on day 8 of that with no visible change and the swelling has increased gradually over the 22 days.

She has eaten good all but 4 days where she ate, just less. Her poop seams normal. Other then the swelling she looks normal, her activity is a bit less some days.

She skims the surface a lot and seams to gulp air. This started before the meds. but has increased. There are bubbles around the edge of the tank.

In the weeks before this started her tank heater wasnt working good and I had a day or two where temps droped to 76-7 at night. That seams to be resolved.

I have had Xia just over 3 years so I know she is an older fish.

So Im wondering if there is anything else I could try. I have medicated fish food from Jungle brand and Maracyn Plus and other meds on hand. I've heard of using epsom salts but not sure how.

Thanks for your advice.

Her tank.....
1. Size of tank? 2 gal

2. Water parameters
a. Ammonia? Dont know
b. Nitrite? Dont know
c. Nitrate? Dont know
d. pH, KH and GH? Dont know
e. Test kit?

3. Temperature? Apx 78-9* With heater.

4. FW (fresh water) or BW (brackish)? Fresh water ... Bottled Spring water

5. How long the aquarium has been set up? I do a compleat water change every 5-6 days. Same tank she has had for over 3 years.

6. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them? Only one female betta, apx2" long, had her over 3 years.

7. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)? ??

8. a. Any live plants? No
Fake plants? One.
b. Sand, gravel, barebottom? Bare.
c. Rocks, woods, fancy decors? Any hollow decors? Just plant and a terra cotta pot. Had both for years.

9. a. Filtration? No
b. Heater? Yes

10. a. Lighting schedule? What lights are used? Kitchen lights for a few hours at night.
b. Any sunlight
exposure? How long? Normal day light. No direct light.

11. a. Water change schedule? Every 5-6 days
b. Volume of water changed? All of it, 2 gals.
c. Well water, tap water, Bottle Spring water.
d. Water conditioner used? Yes...Novaqua & AmQuel
e. Frequency of gravel/sand (if any) vacuumed? n/a

12. Foods? Am 3 Hakari Bio-Gold pellets presoaked. PM 3 thawed Hakari frozen Blood worms
How often are they fed? 2 times a day.

13. a. Any abnormal signs/symptoms? Swolen abdomen. Most days eating normal. Several days ago didnt eat all her food.
b. Appearance of poop? Normal

c. Appearance of gills? Normal...as best I can tell.

14. a. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? Yes

b. What meds were used? 2 rounds of Kanaplex (Kanamycen). Then 7 days of Maracyn 1&2.
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:48 PM   #2 
callistra
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Please share photos. Is she actually pine coned (scales sticking out)? Is it full body or just abdomen?

Quote:
The first thing I did was decrease the aqua. salt at water change then didnt add it at the next water change. (So from 1/4+ Tea to 1/4 Tea. then none)
Have you been adding aquarium salt regularly? This can only be used for up to 10 days and even at small quantities can eventually lead to organ failure issues.

At this point she just needs a break from meds. They're obviously not helping. I'm not sure it's really an infection so much as an organ break down I'm very sorry to say.. Whether it be from all that aquarium salt and/or old age it would be hard to say. The only other antibiotic that stands a chance of working at this point is Maracyn Plus but I REALLY would not administer it at this point. I really don't think it's an infection.

At this point I would get her into some epsom salts. They need to be predissolved and they need to be pure - check the ingredients label for pure magnesium sulfate. I'd start about 1/4 tsp per gallon and increase on up to 1 tsp per gallon over an hour or so. Very soft water like yours can cause a ph decrease so that's why I say acclimate slowly. You can increase these even up to 2 or 3 tsp some say. I've never done this nor have I ever had the need so experiment at your own risk. You can keep her on epsom salts possibly indefinitely but several weeks is definitely safe. I would leave her on them at least two weeks and until she's fully returned to normal size. ES remain in the water like AQ does.. so when you do a water change however much water you remove is how much of the ES also got removed and how much should be put back in.

As far as the food you're giving her.. blood worms should never be a stable diet. They are like feeding candy or potato chips. It's okay to feed one or two once a week as a treat, but otherwise you should stick to pellets. The pellets you are feeding used to be very good quality but a few years ago they changed their formula and now they're full of wheat and fillers. I would try to get some Omega One Betta Buffet (3-4 of these split up into twice a day feedings are good for most bettas. The largest boys getting maybe 6), or New Life Spectrum Betta which is my personal favorite. These are smaller and you can feed 5-8 in 2 or 3 smaller meals. I also really like these because of the garlic which entices bettas to eat and is a good immune system booster. All bettas, regardless of what you feed, should have one day a week of fasting. At this point I'd give her a couple of days off food and epsoms to see how she responds before introducing a different pellet.

Lets talk about this Spring water.. what is the source? The spring water from Petco or whatever is probably fine. I don't really know what's in it and I've never tested it but I would assume it's safe for fish. The "spring water" jugs you buy at the grocery store are not ok. They are generally really RO water which lacks electrolytes for fish and also tend to be very acidic in ph. RO water needs to be treated with Equilibrium or Kent's RO Right to be safe for fish. In this case the aquarium salt you were adding may have actually benefitied her by supplying some of the necessary electrolytes which kept her going this long. I'm not saying add back AQ, because there are much better/healthier ways of supplying these electrolytes. I'm just saying we need to check into this water.

Finally, water changes in a 2 gallon require 2 weekly water changes - one 50% and one 100%.I would increase water changes. Otherwise your girl will be seeing ammonia on a pretty consistent basis and this can also wear down immune systems.

I understand you'e had her a long time and you have to have been taking good care of her to have her this long. Hopefully these changes will help her live an even longer/better life with you, but realize there may not be a great deal you can do at this point.. I really hope we can pull her through.

--------------

Soo... Summarize

* Epsom salt treatment. Give a break from antibiotics
* Check on source of water? If it is jugs from the grocery store test gh and ph and get back to me.. I'm guessing you need the Equilibrium or RO Right
*Try a different pellet.
*Increase to 2 water changes a week

Last edited by callistra; 12-26-2012 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:03 PM   #3 
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You don't want to confuse a normal enlarged abdomen and bloat and treat needlessly-Usually with bloat you will have other S/S along with the enlarged abdomen-Like-lethargic, buoyancy issues, clamp fins, hiding, stops eating and fecal matter changes.

The enlarged abdomen, decreased activity and appetite changes- might also be related to normal aging out. It could also be fatty liver or a tumor-both commonly seen with aging out. Or kidney damage from long term sodium chloride use.

Some of the problem might be related to the long term use of salt-as well as lack of needed minerals in the water-Both can cause problems in the long term.

What I would recommend-stop the medication and don't use the aquarium salt-you might also want to start adding 10-25% of your tap water mixed with your bottled water-along with the proper amount of dechlorinator to add some minerals-Then increase your water changes to twice weekly-1-50% water only and 1-100% to maintain water quality. It also wouldn't hurt at this point to add Epsom salt (Not aquarium salt) to her tank-dosed at 2tsp/gal. Dissolve it in some tank water and slowly add it to her tank after a water change-then have it premixed in your replacement water to use for water changes to provide the proper dose. Epsom salt can be used long term and it can be helpful for edema. If you have a tannin source of either IAL or dried Oak leaf-this can also help.

Good luck and keep us posted....
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:19 PM   #4 
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OFL you make me feel like maybe I write too much.. since we both gave the same suggestions but mine took up like 3x the space. LOL :D Thanks
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:33 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callistra View Post
OFL you make me feel like maybe I write too much.. since we both gave the same suggestions but mine took up like 3x the space. LOL :D Thanks
Laffs...usually its me that writes too much...lol....I must have been typing at the same time you posted...lol...IMO-it good to have a several replies-even if its pretty much the same thing or even if it is different. Lots and lots of different ways to reach the same goal-its a matter of personal experience IMO...
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:52 PM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
Laffs...usually its me that writes too much...lol....I must have been typing at the same time you posted...lol...IMO-it good to have a several replies-even if its pretty much the same thing or even if it is different. Lots and lots of different ways to reach the same goal-its a matter of personal experience IMO...
lol thanks I agree. :)
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:03 PM   #7 
Harleys Mom
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Thank you for your replies! To answer your questions......

Xia symptoms
NO pine coning, the swelling is just abdomen. No clamped fins. She didnt want her pellets this AM, just ate one so I gave her two bloodworms (before I read your replies) . She may have boyancy issues, I wonder if she gulps air to float better. One morning last week I found her lying on her side under her heater. But she "woke up" right away and seamed normal the rest of the time.

Water
The water I use is Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring water. It lists the springs it comes from on the bottle. So I dont think its RO at all.
I started using bottled water before I had to take my fish with me out of town for 5 weeks in 2010 because I needed a consistiant water surace. I kept using it because I thought the ph was better....my tap was apx 7.8 and the bottled was apx 6.6. I also had concerns about other things that are in tap water and this bottled was my only other option.
Most of her life I changed the water every 5 days untill this Feb when I started doing it every 6 days.
When you do a 50% water change how do you get the temp right? Do you remove the fish? What if I did 100% w/c every 4 days instead. My experance with partial water changes is they take just as much time and the fish gets more stressed its VERY hard to get the right temp before you add the water. Xia is really smart and Im concerned if I do partial changes it will be harder to catch her for 100% changes.

Salt
From time to time I added salt when she had fin issues ( white puff on fins or melting fin tips) I added it durning medication untill the issue went away. Usually a week or two.
Then I started using it in each water change two years after I got her at 1/2 Tsp for 2 gals for one year then this Oct down to 1/4+ Tsp. From what i had read I thought it would keep the fin issues away and she had no more fin problems after I started adding salt. I had heard it could cause bloating but didnt know if it could cause organ failure! : ( . . UGH!

The Epsom Salt
The one I have lists no ingedents so Im assuming its pure. It's CVS pharmacy brand. So 1-2 tps ES? So I add pre-disolved ES at 1/4 tsp per gal. then to 1tps per gal over an hour? Not sure how I do that? Just make up a mixture and add a little over an hour? I'm confused. : (

Food
Where would I get the other foods? For the last 7 months I have fasted her 1-3 meals a week when I was out of town overnight for work but that work stopped just after the puffiness started. Do you recomend fasting the same day each week?

What Next
I will do a w/c tonight with NO Aqu. salt and with ES added slowly. I will try to get a photo when she is out of her tank. I will look into finding the food. In the mean time did you recommend fasting for a day? And after that, before I can get better food should I use blood worms or the pellets or both since she is used to that.

Thank you guys for all your advice!!! I really appreciate it!!!!
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:32 PM   #8 
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Here's my personal feelings on the spring water.. it's better than if it was RO water, but I still wouldn't use it exclusively and here's why. The ph in that kind of water tends to be very unstable and have very low kh. I've seen bottles be 6.6 upon opening and rise to almost 7.6 over a weeks time. The Ph swings will very very very hard on your fish. If you want to bring the ph of the tap water down you could do a 50/50 on the spring and tap but I still wouldn't use it exclusively. The Prime should render any heavy metals or nastyness harmless in your tap. Unless you have ammonia in your tap water it should be okay for fish.

The downside to mixing up tap water at this point is that your girl is very used to this spring water and is an older fish. You don't want to shock her system with big changes in water. You might try slowly mixing in like 1 part tap to 3 parts spring and then increase it to 50/50. IDK OFL may have more to say on this. I would definitely acclimate each change by cupping and adding a few tablespoons of the new water every 10 minutes for a couple hours.

CVS Pharmacy Epsoms are what I use. They're good

I wouldn't try pushing food too hard at this point. It seems more and more from your info that she may just really need a few days to get a backup of food to pass. If she has swim bladder issues she may really need a few days of fasting along with the epsoms. When she poops, let us know what it looks like. I'm expecting brown and ballish, which means constipated but no infection.

Food would have to come from your local fish store, petco, petsmart.. or order online. I don't know what's available in your area, sorry. I definitely recommend that she needs to be fasted one day a week and the same day is good. At this point I'd fast her with epsoms at least a couple days and until you see if pooping helps relieve the bloat. Then she may need a few more. She's not going to starve anytime soon. Betta's can go weeks without food and sometimes if they get constipated enough a week long fast with epsoms is the best thing for them.

Last edited by callistra; 12-26-2012 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:29 PM   #9 
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Im still a but confused...Could you help me understand how I do the epsom salt. I understand it has to be pre-dissolved, and I start with 1/4 tsp per 1 gal. But then how do I add more? Should I just make up 1 tsp per gal dissolved and add a 1/4 of it a day? Something like that?
I will look up the good foods on line, see if I can find them.
Again thank you soo much for all your advice!!!
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:24 PM   #10 
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That'd be one way to do it.. You can dissolve up a full tsp and add it slowly over several hours. You shouldn't have to spread it out over days.
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